Grandchild Remembers Kansas Pioneer John Millirons

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A Grandchild Remembers
Kansas Pioneer John Millirons

Sept 4, 1978
Brawley, California

Dear Riss:

It is always interesting to hear from one of your kinsman that you never knew and it is of a special interest when it is a "story" involving people that I had known and will never forget.

You see, my mother Cordelia (Delia) Millirons Hass passed away when I was 2 years old, and for the next or following 5 years I lived with my grandparents John and Martha Millirons. As I look back now, I appreciate more than words can express the sacrifices they made for me. I have nothing but the greatest love for each of them and that covers admiration, respect, and a wish that we might have more of their kind in the world today.

As I'm sure you know, Granddad was a builder and after he and Grandma moved to town (Concordia), he spent many years as a superintendent for Kansas City Bridge and Iron Co. The last time I was back there while he was alive we drove many miles (in Walter's Dodge Car) seeing the country and looking at several of the bridges he had constructed on the Republican River. He also built many on the Platte River.

He was not only a successful farmer, he was also a good businessman. I recall one time (on this last visit) asking him how he happened to be doing business with the Cloud County Bank, when his son (A.D. Millirons) was a director in the Concordia State Bank. His answer was typical: "Well, Johnnie", he said, "quite a few years ago I walked into the Cloud County Bank, where I was doing business and told them that I would like to borrow some money to finish out my program." He continued on: "This was in the days when money was real tight and I knew there might be a question. Mr. Peck, who was President of the bank wanted to know how much he would need and when Granddad had given him the answer, he told him to go ahead, buy the additional steers he would need and that the money was there for him. Granddad then said to Mr. Peck: "Now, I suppose you will want a mortgage on the cattle. To which Mr. Peck replied: 'Not to you, John - your word is all we ever need and if it wasn't for the bookkeeping, we wouldn't even bother to take a note.' So, you see why I don't do business with the Concordia State - you see son, you never want to forget your old friends."

Granddad used to get provoked at little "Johnnie" (the author) from time to time - but in my years at their home I never heard him say one unpleasant word to Grandma - or she to him. They were quite a team.

Yes, I have lived in a great age. As a small boy my trips to California took 4 days and three nights via the Santa Fe. From Concordia to Strong City - where we picked up the "mail line" and on to California! A couple of years ago my wife Margaret and I took a trip to New Zealand and in one day we were there - an event takes place in So. Africa and that nite we see it on TV. The first automobile I ever rode in was the one Uncle "Doll" (A.D. Millirons) owned - that must have been about 1905 or 6. It chugged along but had lots of difficulty in getting from the Milliron's place to Concordia, and for 6 months of the year it was still "horse and buggy" days.

Yes, we have many "things" today that were unheard of at the turn of the century - but there are a few items that should never change and that is the moral integrity of our people, their honesty and their faith in each other and in the Government of our country, but alas I fear at times that this too has changed.

Good to hear from you, Riss, and if you come to California, be sure and travel our way.

John Lawrence Hass

Editors Note: John Millirons was born in 1838, moved to Unionville, MO in 1854 at age 16, served in the Civil War chasing guerillas in Missouri, homesteaded in Kansas in 1877, became a bridge builder in Cloud County at the turn of the century, and died in Concordia, KS in 1927.

See biography of John and Martha Jane (Earhart) Millirons.

John Lawrence Hass is the only Millirons descendant who was not also a Johnston, as all of his cousins had both Millirons and Johnston parents (ie were double cousins) because the brothers and sisters of one farm family married the brothers and sisters of a neighboring farm family. This resulted in cousins where both the aunt and uncle were "blood", and therefore the cousins were "double" cousins. There was another instance of this situation, again involving John Millirons. His sister married his wife's brother.

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